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Kansas City volleyball splits two matches in first home games of season

The Roos hosted their first home game against the Denver Pioneers and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits last week. (Russell Hons)

Kansas City Roos volleyball returned home to Swinney Center last week to host the first home games of the 2021 season. The team faced off against the University of Denver early in the week and finished the two-game stretch with a match against South Dakota State on Thursday.

The Roos struggled in their home opener against the Denver Pioneers on Tuesday night, dropping three straight sets against Denver.

The Pioneers’ defense at the net proved to be too big of a wall to climb over for the Roos’ attack. Denver blockers Brianna Green and Hailey Green controlled the net en route to the Pioneers’ 9-2 blocking differential over the Roos.

Kansas City’s middle hitter De’Janae Arnold dealt the most damage for the Roos’ offense with 11 kills and a .455 kill percentage. Arnold’s highlight play came in the first set when she attacked a perfect back set from Roos setter Alli Schomers and absolutely buried the ball in Denver’s backline.

The 2020 Summit League Setter of the Year, Schomers shined as one of the Roos’ most reliable contributors and recorded a match-high 31 assists.

Kansas City had a chance to win in the first set when they had a 24-21 lead, but Denver came out of a timeout and closed the gap to seal the 26-24 victory over the Roos. The next two sets got away from Kansas City as the Pioneers won 25-22 and 25-18 respectively.

The Roos bounced back against their second opponent, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, on Thursday night and set the tone of the match early.

Libero Maddie Renn provided Kansas City with the initial spark of momentum when she hit back-to-back aces early in the first set, and the Roos’ carried it through for the rest of the night. Kansas City dominated in the first set with a 14-2 run as part of the 25-12 victory.

Much like the first set against Denver, Kansas City had the lead late in the second set against South Dakota State, but this time the Roos made sure to have the last word. Kansas City outlasted their opponents in a lengthy final rally, winning 25-21 to go up 2-0 in the match.

The Roos and Jackrabbits traded punches back-and-forth for most of the third set, but Kansas City once again pulled through with clutch, late-game performances. Hitter Bree Thompson crushed a ball down the line to extend the Roos’ lead 22-18. Thompson also had the game-winning block that secured the 3-0 sweep against South Dakota State.

The Roos sit at 12-5 on the season following a loss against South Dakota on Saturday. The team will host a final home game against Oral Roberts before hitting the road.

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